H/T Set Up Recommendations Welcomed/Appreciated


Hi All,
Spent the weekend reading through these very helpful posts, but somehow remain in a stupor. The products I have looked at appear to be somewhat unknown or unliked in this chat and the recommended products are confusing me a bit for their proper applications. Please forgive my ignorance and my request to start from scratch. The base item I'm pretty much sold on is the tv, KV34XBR910 and HDTV ready. Would like a great receiver, dvd, speakers and line conditioner to be used in a 20x20 room with 25' ceiling and open to 30x30 on second floor. I was also drawn to the 7.1 for the option of the rear speaker or addtitional room. The prior posts leave me wondering how best to accomplish that. Sales people tell me this will work: Receiver:Denon AVR3803 or Onkyo TX SR800. DVD: DVCP 701 or Denon 1200. Speakers: Boston VRM 50B monitors, VRMCB center, BRAVOB multi and PV700 sub, or CS Newton S300 surround, Tower 2 floor, Center Stage center, P1000 sub. HT Power Center. Not including the TV, the systems mentioned total $3,300 to $4,000. Would like to spend that range or less for receiver, dvd, speakers, and line protector/conditioner if needed. I live within 300' of high tension wires and I also often experiance surges. Willing to wait on certian items if needed. After reading threads, thought I would look into NAD 762 but can't find any resource locally. Found one source for MGC1's, but haven't heard them yet. I don't know if the set ups recommended in posts are best for my room size and budget. Also, if it doesn't impact quality/sound, prefer speakers that aren't showy (blend in easily). Any other thoughts, opinions would be greatly appreciated. TV/Movies 60% and wide range of music 40%. This budget is touph on my purse so I really want to buy the right equipment Thanks


I really like your Sony TV--very nice.

As for the audio section, yes, any of those proposed setups will work, but whether they are worth the kind of money you are seeking to spend is another issue. I have the Denon 3803 and I almost never recommend it to anyone. I am awaiting a new NAD from my dealer who ran out and is expecting his shipment from NAD at the end of this week. I also know you are either in the San francisco or Boston areas as no one else carries the Cambridge Soundworks speakers except the CS stores and they are only in those areas.

I will tell you upfront that I do not care that much for either Denon nor Onkyo products. Since making an impulse decision to buy the Denon after 10 minutes of listening, I have become very dissatisfied with the sound--changing speakers has not helped much. Therefore, I have been on a quest to listen to everything to find the best sound for my hard earned and precious few dollars. You indicate you want great sound, well, you won't get it with either Denon nor Onkyo which both have that typical "mass market receiver" sound.

The sound from my Denon is dry and polite--it gets "grainy" sounding if I have the wrong speakers. The Onkyo is polite sounding to a fault. I find its pre/pro section (the pre-amp) to be rather poor at that price level in resolving the sound, that is, converting a digital sound signal to an analog signal that we can actually hear. Neither the Denon nor the Onkyo will make anything close to its rated power as both mislead the consumer when rating their receivers. They both strictly follow the FTC requirement promulgated more than 30 years ago and rate their receivers two channels at a time (a standard designed for stereo receivers and never updated for multi-channel A/V receivers). The problem here is that the receiver's power supply is not built to drive five, much less seven channels at a time. So, my Denon for example, rated at 110 wpc x 7, probably puts out no more than 65 wpc and has no dynamic headroom. The Onkyo is probably worse. Sound & Vision recently tested its big brother, the 900, rated at 125 wpc x 7 by Onkyo, but in the test, it could do no more than 52 wpc x 7!

I have similar misgivings about both DVD/CD players. They play DVDs fine--good picture, etc., but the sound coming from the player, either from a DVD or CD, tends to sound flat, with no depth to the soundstage. I have often noted that my daughter's $50 CD Walkman sounds better than my Denon DVD/CD player. The Onkyo is pretty much the same.

As for speakers, I believe you can do a lot better. I know those speakers and while competent, none are what I would want for great sound. The Boston VRM50s are a fine speaker, but it only has a 5.25 mid/woofer driver that would be lost in that size room. You have 10,000 cubic feet of space, not counting the upstairs space, which impacts the sound. I have a smaller room, but pretty large nontheless at 20 x 14 x 18, and it is open to the upstairs as well, so I understand the problem. The CS speakers are big enough, but I don't think they have the resolution worthy of their price, IMO.

I think the NAD 762 is a great receiver--the sound is much more like quality separates than a receiver. Look up the NAD website, www.nadelectronics.com, and you will find a link labeled "dealers" at the top of their homepage. Go to the dealer page where you can enter your zip code or area code to find a dealer in your area. I also highly recommend the NAD for your budget. If you had a bit more to spend, I would recommend you go the separates route, but to do what you want to do, I think this receiver is just right. It is also an honest 100 wpc (really needed for your space) and capable of driving a low impedence (4 ohm rated) speaker system, if needed. You should be able to get it for about ~$1K or less ($899 at Saturday Audio or Yawa Online), leaving about $2500 for DVD player, line conditioner, and speakers.

DVD player--I like two different players here for their ability to reproduce sound as well as good pictures at a reasonable price: the NAD T532 ($299 online) and the Cambridge Audio DVD55 (available from Audio Advisor for $279). These are cheaper than the Denon player and are better players, IMO.

Speakers--this can be tricky as you have mentioned the ability to blend in as being very important. I don't know what you might like or wouldn't like, so let me suggest a few different ideas:

1. NHT--I love the NHT ST-4 towers, MSRP of $1000, but I have priced them at $785 from Kief's (www.kiefs.com). They have sufficient size to fill the room, and superb detail. Comes in a gloss black "piano" finish. Match them with an NHT SC-2 center speaker (MSRP of $400, available for ~$320) and a pair of SB-2 surrounds (MSRP of $400, also available for ~$320/pr.) and you have a full system within your price range.

2. Magnepan--my personal favorite. Look into a pair of the MMGs for your mains. These are flat panels 48" tall and 14" wide, but only 1.5" deep (no box, just a frame). Thus, they blend in because you can put them close to the wall. Just running a pair of MMGs in my house, I was able to fill the room with the most beautiful sound I have ever heard from a stereo. This speaker is cleaner and more lifelike than any other type of speaker out there. Available directly from Magnepan for only $550/pair, they come with a 60 day free in-home trial (if you don't like them you just re-box them and ship them back for a full refund). The MGMC1s are a great surround speaker, but don't do well as main speakers if you are listening to music as they only go down to 80 hz. Magnepan is about to release the matching center and surround speakers for the MMGs, but they are not expected out until December.

3. Krix--hard to find, but well worth it if you do. Check out the KDX-Ms, which can be stand mounted or wall mounted and run about $350 apiece.
Very smooth and delightful to listen to, with no noticeable coloration from their cabinet, unlike most speakers.

4. Paradigm Studios--Excellent speaker, runs about $800/pair and the cabinet finish is beautiful enough for any decor. They have a matching center and surrounds, but I do not have their new pricing.

Another good choice is the B+W CM series speakers, but they may run a little more money than your budget. Worth checking out, though

Line protector--good ones are available from Monster Power or Panamax. Dealers are going crazy on this stuff just like speaker wire as they get really high margins on these products. You don't need a particularly expensive unit to realize the benefits of a conditioner, however. Here is a link for a nice Panamax unit that I have no doubt will work just fine for you:


Finally, you need a subwoofer. This one is easy. Get a Hsu Research VTF-2 directly from the manufacturer (www.hsuresearch.com) for $499. No other sub can compare for under $750 and it betters most costing upwards of three times its price. Works well with any speaker system.

I hope this is of some help.

Wow. Thanks Hawk. I've been reading so many of your posts I had decided to go check out the NAD 762 and the MMG's. I'll also check out the othres if I can find them. I'm running out to work, but thought I'd leave you with this question. I posted this setup on another thread. Do you think I should consider it or stay with the 762?
MCINTOSH MC202 200W 2-CHANNEL PWR AMP. McIntosh MX 130 A/V tuner control center pre-amp. 5-channel w/THX certification. Denon DVD 2800 II. DVD/HD CD w/DTS. Vandersteen 2c 2.5 way flr standing spkr. B&W 601 S2 monitor bkshelf spkrs. Paradigm monitor 5 bkshelf spkr. Pr of Target 24" stands. All exc to mint cond. Must see & hear. 4K


It is a very nice stereo system, but it only has two channels. Is that what you want? You would have to add another amp with at least three channels just to have home theater. I would be inclined to stick with the NAD 762.

If you find a Magnepan dealer, listen to the MG12s--they are almost identical to the MMGs (which are only sold by the factory, directly to the consumer). The dealers carry the MG12s and if you hear the 12s, you will know exactly what the MMGs sound like.


I have similar misgivings about both DVD/CD players. They play DVDs fine--good picture, etc., but the sound coming from the player, either from a DVD or CD, tends to sound flat, with no depth to the soundstage. I have often noted that my daughter's $50 CD Walkman sounds better than my Denon DVD/CD player. The Onkyo is pretty much the same.

Hawk, I've seen you mention this several times now. Does this only apply if you're using the DACs from the DVD/CD player? If the DVD/CD player is sending a D-PCM feed from the CD to the receiver why would a CD-only player be sending a different feed?

Hello all I am currently running a kenwood reciever(VR407) mainly for HT use I have a set of jbl S38II speakers and also a set of infinity entra three speakers my question is which should I use for my main and which for the rears?? also can you reccommend a good sub for under $600

Of the products in my area I would recommend two systems. First a NADt762 or new 763 receiver with Paradigm speakers. The Paradigm Studios are great and try to hear the Studio40 or 60 for mains and the rest of that system. The second system would be either a Marantz7300 receiver or Elitevsx45 or new 53 with a Monitor Silver Series speaker package with the Silver6 for mains, the Silver center and the silver1 for surrounds and a good $500 sub. Either system would fit your budget, fill your space with wonderful sound and last for years. For a dvd player I would go with the Elitedv45a. Great player for $400 or so at many on-line places.Good luck and keep us informed of your progress. I would avoid the Denon and while the Onkyo is ok the others are better.

Thanks Hawk and Elitefan. I'll let you know what I was able to find and hopefully, what my purchase was. Probably will take at least a week or two. I have to tell you that I would have been misled at best without this site and the generousity of your knowledge and experiance and patience. Your terrific. Hawk, nice deduction on my local.


Yeah, but which locale? I need a hint as to which Bay you are facing.

Well Hawk, I'm partial to Red and White in Spring, Red white and Blue in Fall, and some green in the winter.

Well Hawk, I'm partial to Red and White in Spring, Red white and Blue in Fall, and some green in the winter.


John A.

John A.:

You have to be a sports fan of American sports to understand.

Say What?!?
that would be Boston John

Hey Hawk

The speaker recommendations you offered to Nan...would they overwhelm a 12w x 17dp x 9' high room ? Are they overkill ?
I like you recommendation for the sub. That's my next purchase in Dec.
I have a YAMAHA HTR-5590 receiver which I am quite happy with. Every film that I purchase and has DTS, makes me smile even more. Most of my listening/viewing is DVDs, with a small percentage of my time watching DirecTV programming.
I appreciate the opinions you have offered here.

John A.

Thanks. I am quite content just to know that the answer lies in that general direction!

I'm currently auditioning at home the NAD T762 and the Marantz 7300 with my Paradigm Studio Reference set (v1 60's;20's;CC450) and a Velodyne FS15-with Marantz CD changer and Sony ES ST9DAES/DVD Player.

My trusted H/K AVR 80 II (1997 model-Made in Japan,honest(?)85wpc, 5.1 ready,THX) blew a resistor (which is what got me started looking for a new receiver) and apparently is fixed now so I can throw that in as my benchmark.

More on this later.

Great Rambo. Look forward to your report as I'm heading out today to vie/hear the NAD762 and as many speakers as possible. Look forward to your opinion since my choices are scattered and hearing them next to one another, impossible.

I did the home Music Stereo comparo of the NAD 762, Marantz 7300 and old H/K 80 II, using Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable" CD.

The NAD really is discernably better than the H/K followed by the Marantz 7300. The imaging is just more expansive. The trumpets are not as strained. The guitar is more mellow. The bass is well controlled. The piano just feels more airy during the ballads.Natalie is just more relaxed. The soundstage sounds more real.

The Marantz is OK but feels strained to keep up compared to my old H/K, more so with the NAD.You can really feel the power supply of this NAD is brute.

The proper model to compare could be the 7300ose or the 8300....

Could the H/K 7200 be the more compatible competitor?

I haven't even tried the DSPs, and yet I feel for
900 bucks this NAD is some receiver.Just my opinion.

Lori Levin
NEED HELP!! Want to go with a 7.1 surround system and I am very confused on everything but the TV. The TV I like is the Optoma RD-65. It's the new DLP technology in a 65'. My room is 30ft long, by 18 ft. wide with a 14 ft cathderal ceiling. I am having a unit built which is going to be installed this week which takes up the the whole front wall (floor to ceiling) which will house the TV, Front Speakers, and Audio Video equiptment. For the rear speakers speakercraft inwalls are already installed.

I went to a store and they recommended:

Yamaha RXV 2400 for the reciever
Yamaha DVD, Sacd,Cd player
Paradigm studio 40's
Paradigm CC-570 center channel
Paradigm Seosmic 12 Subwoofer

I am a classical/Jazz pianist into all genres of music from hiphop, rock, R&B, Jazz Classical etc.... I'm really looking for something special, that will be reasonably priced. Any help pointing me in the right direction will be very helpful.... Thanks


See above posts in this thread. They're excellent recommendations!!

I am wondering about HT system connection configurations.

Obviously, you would HAVE to connect the audio signal (RCA, digital coax, or optical) from all output devices (DVD, VCR, & cable/satellite box) to your receiver if you want to hear what's playing on your TV through your speakers.

But do you really have to connect the video signals from your HT devices through the receiver and then back out to the TV? Aside from an instance where your TV does not accept 3 or more video signals, I can't see why you'd bother to route the video signals through the receiver?

For my own set-up, my TV accepts 7 separate video inputs (1 composite, 2 RCA, 2 S-Video, and 2 component). I could connect the video signal from my DVD player directly to the TV using a 1M component cable. However, if I choose to run the video signal through my receiver, a 2M cable from the DVD to the receiver and another 2M cable back out to the TV would be required. That is 1M of cable vs. 4M of cable. My guess is that, as long as you're using the same brand & quality of cable for each length, the signal from the 1M feed will look better than the same signal from the 4M feed. Right?


You are correct. Any time you run a video signal through electronical devices (i.e. a receiver), you lose some of the quality. Therefore, if you have the proper number of inputs on your TV, you do not need to run video through the receiver at all. I only have one component input on my tv, yet I have two devices (DVD and Xbox) that I wanted to run using component, so I was forced to use the receiver, although I would prefer not to.

Thanks Johnny. Happy to avoid having to spend more $$$ on cables too. :-)

do you have a s-video connection on your TV?
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